St George Illawarra are proud to announce Joanne Niki's artwork 'Commitment' as the winner of the Dragons' 2022 indigenous jersey design competition, as selected by the club's reconciliation action plan committee, staff, players and local elders.
The importance of this initiative is not lost on the Dragons and we wish to thank all 22 entrants for submitting their designs of which we proudly showcase below.
We acknowledge all 22 artists' passion, commitment and skill. These artists, who, through their artwork, depicted the Dragons' cultural connection to our coastline, our special places, our identity, our history, our sacred sites and our beliefs.
To all at the St George Illawarra Dragons, this initiative is imperative to preserve First Nation Peoples culture dating as far back as 80,000 years ago.
Indigenous art is centred on story telling. It is used as a chronical to convey knowledge of the land, events and beliefs of the Aboriginal people and important cultural stories through the generations.
The Dragons will wear their indigenous jersey twice in 2022; Round 12 against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Indigenous Round) and Round 15 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs (our next home game following Indigenous Round).
Joanne Niki's 'Commitment'
"The fiery colours in the background represent the fiery breath of the dragon and the passion the team put into the game and your contributions to community. You might note it is shaped to reflect the Illawarra and the land of the Dharawal country.
"The whale is there as the totem of the Dharawal people. The two larger circles represent the club’s two main footy grounds. The symbols around the two larger circles represent hunters, being the players of St George Illawarra.
"The winding red lines in those circles show your constant ongoing service and commitment to the NRL and the community which is represented by the smaller red, orange, black and white circles. The connection to community is shown by the white dotted lines. The 'helping hands' leading out from the larger circles also symbolise the club's contribution to community."
About the artist:
Joanne Niki is a proud Torres Strait Islander, from Saibai in the Torres Strait. Joanne moved to Wagga Wagga in the early 1980s and has lived there ever since.
She has spent the last 25 years working with youth, starting out working in primary and high schools and for the last 14 years working with youth at risk in Youth Justice.
During her time working for Youth Justice, she developed a love for painting at which time she was encouraged by Aunty Pat Dacey (Wiradjuri elder) to explore and expand on her artistic abilities.
She has since gone on to create dozens of artworks with the young people within Youth Justice and has also completed several artwork designs with young people that have featured prominently on uniforms currently worn within Youth Justice.